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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ AstronomyView Options:  |  |  |   

Astronomy on Ancient Coins

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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"The Julian Star" appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. It was a comet and the Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.
SH84740. Silver denarius, RIC I 37a (S), BMCRE I 323, RSC I 98, BnF I 1293, Hunter I 139, SRCV I 1607 var. (head left), Choice near Mint State, mint luster, well centered, excellent portrait, slightest die wear, some legend a little weak, weight 3.723 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 180o, probably Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) mint, 19 - 18 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; scarce; $3000.00 (2670.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D., Soli-Pompeiopolis, Cilicia

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Aratos was a native of Soli. His chief pursuits were medicine, grammar, and philosophy. He studied with Menecrates in Ephesus, Philitas in Cos and Praxiphanes in Athens. About 276 he was invited to the court of the Antigonus II Gonatas, whose victory over the Gauls in 277 BC Aratus set to verse. There he wrote his most famous poem, Phaenomena ("Appearances"). He then spent some time at the court of Antiochus I Soter but returned to Pella where he died sometime before 240 B.C.
SH58900. Bronze hexassarion, Lindgren I 1605 (same dies); Milne NC 1940, p. 247, 20; BMC Lycaonia -; SNG BnF -; SNG Levante -; SNGvA -; SNG Cop -; SNG PfPS -, gF, weight 12.323 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 180o, Soli-Pompeiopolis mint, 245 - 246 A.D.; obverse AYT K IOY ΦIΛIΠΠOC EY CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, Π − Π across field; reverse ΠOMΠHIOΠOΛ IAT (year 311) ς (6 assaria), bare-headed, draped bust of Aratos right; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise, comes with an old round coin ticket probably from Seaby 1960's or 1970's,
BIG 32mm bronze; extremely rare; $360.00 (320.40)


Kyrene, Kyrenaica, North Africa, Ptolemaic Rule, c. 300 - 275 B.C.

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Magas was the stepson of Ptolemy I, the son of Berenice I, and half-brother to Ptolemy II. In 276 B.C., he crowned himself King in Kyrene, married the daughter of Antiochos I and invaded Egypt with his Seleukid allies. The Seleukid army was defeated by Ptolemy II and Magas faced an internal revolt of Libyan nomads. Still, Kyrene remained independent as long as he lived.
GS75115. Silver hemiobol, BMC Cyrenaica pl. XXV, 8 (plates only, missing from text); Mller Afrique -; SNG Cop -; SNG Milan -, gVF, toned, scratches, weight 0.419 g, maximum diameter 9.3 mm, Kyrene mint, Magas, as Ptolemaic governor, c. 300 - 275 BC.; obverse diademed male head right; reverse star of eight narrow rays around central pellet; ex Roma Numismatics E-sale 17 (April 2015), lot 375; extremely rare; $280.00 (249.20)


Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D., Paphos(?), Cyprus

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Titus visited the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos in 69 A.D., when the future emperor was on his way to Egypt. He consulted the oracle of Aphrodite, and was told that he had a great future.

The 1.2 mm high gray-green conical stone, which once stood at the center of the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Paphos, was found by archaeologists near the temple and is now in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. It is not a meteorite.
RP59007. Silver didrachm, RPC II 1809, F, encrustations, weight 5.636 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, Paphos(?) mint, obverse AYTOKPATΩP TITOC KAICAP, laureate head left; reverse ETOYC NEOY IEPOY, temple of Aphrodite at Paphos, conical stone (xoanon) at center, Θ in exergue; rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 130 - 50 B.C.

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This is apparently a recently discovered new type. All the known examples might be from a single find.
GB83691. Bronze AE 14, Unpublished in standard references, six examples known to Forum, VF, weight 2.22 g, maximum diameter 14.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Pontic mint, c. 130 - 50 B.C.; obverse star of six rays and center pellet superimposed on pileus; reverse star of eight rays and central pellet; extremely rare; $250.00 (222.50)


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 130 - 50 B.C.

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This is apparently a recently discovered new type. All the known examples might be from a single find.
SH71047. Bronze AE 14, Unpublished in standard refs, six examples known to Forum, F, cleaning scratches, weight 2.121 g, maximum diameter 13.9 mm, uncertain Pontic mint, c. 130 - 50 B.C.; obverse star of six rays and center pellet superimposed on pileus; reverse star of eight rays and central pellet; extremely rare; $200.00 (178.00)


Kingdom of Commagene, Epiphanes and Callinicus, 72 A.D.

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In 72 A.D., only two years after Antiochus IV, King of Commagene, sent troops, commanded by his son Epiphanes, to aid Titus in the siege of Jerusalem, he was accused by the governor of Syria of conspiring with Parthia against Rome. After a reign of thirty-four years from his first appointment by Caligula, Antiochus was deprived of his kingdom. He retired first to Sparta, and then to Rome, where he passed the remainder of his life and was treated with great respect. Antiochus' sons, Epiphanes and Callinicus briefly ruled the kingdom but after an encounter with Roman troops, fled to Parthia. They later joined their father in Rome.
SH90336. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 3861; BMC Galatia p. 110, 1 ff.; De Luynes 3440; SGICV 5515, F, weight 7.954 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 45o, Samosata (Samsat, Turkey) mint, 72 A.D.; obverse Epiphanes and Callinicus riding left on horseback, each wearing chlamys, BACIΛEΩC / YIOI in exergue; reverse KOMMAΓHNΩN, Capricorn right, star above, anchor flukes left below, all within laurel wreath, border of dots; ex John Jencek; $170.00 (151.30)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia

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Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible. Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians near Carrhae in 53 B.C. Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site in 296 A.D.
RP84657. Bronze AE 23, SNG Hunterian 2501 - 2503 = Macdonald Hunter 22 - 24 corr. (laureate bust); BMC Mesopotamia p. 90, 63; SNG Cop -, F, uneven strike, slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 7.513 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CE, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse MHTP KOΛ KAPPHNΩN, two stars arranged vertically within and above crescent with horns upward; extremely rare; $170.00 (151.30)


Pontos (Uncertain City), c. 130 - 50 B.C.

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This is apparently a recently discovered new type. All the known examples might be from a single find.
SH90651. Bronze AE 13, Unpublished in standard references, six examples known to Forum, VF, green patina, earthen encrustation, light scratches, reverse off-center, weight 2.431 g, maximum diameter 12.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Pontic mint, c. 130 - 50 B.C.; obverse star of six rays and center pellet superimposed on pileus; reverse star of eight rays and central pellet; extremely rare; $160.00 (142.40)


Kingdom of Thrace, Lysimachos, 305 - 281 B.C., Struck in the Name of Alexander the Great

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Colophon struck this commemorative in the name of Alexander the Great under the rule of Lysimachus. The city also issued the same type with the same symbols in the name of King Lysimachus (examples are listed in Forum's catalog). Colophon was about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Ephesus.
GS76133. Silver drachm, Price 1843, Mller Alexander -, SNG Cop -, SNG Mnchen -, SNG Alpha Bank -, VF, well centered, toned, scratches, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 4.163 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Ionia, Kolophon (near Degirmendere Fev, Turkey) mint, c. 301 - 297 B.C.; obverse head of Herakles right, clad in Nemean Lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse AΛEΞAN∆POY, Zeus seated left on throne without back, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, eagle in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, right leg drawn back, crescent horns right over lion-forepart left in left field, pentagram under throne; $155.00 (137.95)




  



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Catalog current as of Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
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Astronomy